Saturday, November 14, 2015

Spirit Hour Kick Off


Yes, finally I'm blogging again about finally starting what I have always dreamed & brainstormed so long:)

I introduced "Spirit Hour" to my first graders on Thursday.  What is Spirit Hour? It is a maker space, genius hour, passion based, project oriented, student centered learning hour. It sounds like a lot, doesn't it? To me it does:) Maybe that's why it took me a while to jump in. Well, I finally told myself that I had to start somewhere. Here is how I started.

I started the introduction by talking about passion. I wanted to tap into what my students really enjoy whether or not it will lead to a project. I gave my students a heart map to fill out. 

Some students' passions were very specific (ex. Legos, dinosaurs, Mine Craft, etc.) while others were very vague (ex. spending time with family...aww<3), but it was ok. I wanted my students to feel how exciting it was to just think & chat about what they really enjoy.

My vision for Spirit Hour later in the year is to see students picking a topic, planning the purpose for the project (creating, demonstrating, informing, instructing, persuading, etc.), deciding what they will make & ho, problem solving throughout the process, and sharing their product at the end.

I know that it will take us a while to get there, so I have decided to take a more guided approach by giving them a challenge. Inspired by Karen Lirenman's Lego challenge (@KLirenman #LegoChallenge) and how she started her challenge, the first challenge for Spirit Hour was a name challenge. The task was simple. Design/build your name:) We brainstormed the tools that they could use for this challenge. I stressed the importance of visualizing/planning how their product would look like and choosing an appropriate material.  We also talked about problem solving; not to jump from one tool to another when they came to a problem. Then it was time to let them go! As soon as I said, "go create!" The students knew exactly where to start.

During the sharing time, each student told the class what they liked about their project & problem solving that was involved.
Here are a few projects.

 Keegan ran out of markers so he used erasers to finish the project.

 At first Collin used a smaller board and ran out of space. He then discovered how to change size of the board and was able to complete the task.

Alyssa could not figure out how to make the letter S. She wanted to switch to drawing but persevered through it.

The students all took a picture of their product and posted on their blog HERE

As we were cleaning up, I heard this boy loud and clear so I had to ask him to repeat for me:) 
Well, this sums all up, doesn't it?

I can't wait for next week's Spirit Hour!